What do you do if you’re a skater that loves to go fast but there isn’t one damn hills worth bombing within 30 miles? Well, that is exactly the dilemma skaters in Houston, Texas face—but we’ve found a solution and it’s in the garages! What started many years ago as a simple solution to a topographical problem has now evolved in a full blown cultural movement known as “HGR” which stands for Houston Garage Riders. The result of this improvisation is a scene that is not only thriving, but also currently exploding. Houston has, in just a few short years, produced some of the best riders on the scene, Rachel Rayne, Brian “Chubbs” Cortright, and Zac Sharp—just to name a few.
What makes the Houston garage scene unique is really two things. Firstly, all the races are obviously “outlaw” races and must be done in the wee hours of the night, and secondly, the Houston riders are a rough bunch and are known for their aggressive style. In the garages there are no rules and the races are considered full contact, which leads to some excitingly epic heats.
To witness the momentum of the Houston Garage Riders and you have to look no further than what went down last weekend in Houston. Team NoBull, Revolver Longboards, and the local community rallied around an injured Revolver rider, Kristin Maxwell. Kristin suffered a serious leg injury while competing at the Space Jam outside of Austin, TX in July. In order to raise money for her hospital bills it was decided that a benefit race should be thrown—It ended up being the largest outlaw garage race in Texas history.
The race billed as the “No Bull, No Class, Garage Race and Fundraiser for Kristin’s Busted Foot” was attended by well over 120 skaters from as far away as Oklahoma and had a total of 79 racers compete in the open class. The specific garage location was not announced until just moments before the race. All the riders gathered at Carve Skate Shop in Houston to await the announcement of the garage, which was “Troll Face” . All of the Houston garages have codenames to insure that there is less likelihood of them being blown. The race garage known as “Troll Face” is a little unique in its location and sits close to Houston’s County Courthouse, its police station, and jail! Entering, exiting and racing the garage all have to be done in full stealth-mode. What was billed as a battle & showdown between Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio turned out to be a friendly yet aggressive race of epic proportions. Thankfully all went smoothly and the race started at midnight. The garage is a 12-story behemoth with all right-hand turns except the last left-handed hairpin.
The racing was aggressive, fast, and dangerous, with a blast of a good time had by all. Over a dozen six-man heats ended in one eight-man final with local rider and Waterloo Wheels founder Zac Sharp taking first, Bombsquad rider Brandon Adams taking second, and up and coming 15 year old Jack Robberson taking third. In the women’s race, Hannah Matetzschik took first, Bryanne Harris took second , and Wheelbase homie, Kris Haro, of Dallas took third.
The skating did not stop until well past 3am though. After the open-class and women’s race it was on to the switch, buttboard, and groms races. In order to not blow out the first garage, we held the rest of the evening’s shredtivities at a second garage. This second garage was also the spot where the trophies and raffle winners were announced. With the support of over two-dozen sponsors the evening was an unbelievable success and raised well over $1,200.00.
One thing’s for certain about Texas, we do it big! Witnessing the turnout and level of stoke at the “No Bull, No Class” garage race made it quite clear that the Texas scene continues to thrive, and in a major way. Whether you want to bomb the 50 mph + hills of Austin & San Antonio, hit the secret terrain of Dallas, or join the garage sessions of Houston; Texas is definitely a flourishing skate community with plenty to radical terrain to shred, and clearly a breeding ground for tomorrow’s rippers.
-Greg Noble (Team “No Bull”)
A thanks to all the sponsors:
Riot, Revolver, Carve Skate Shop, Team No Bull, Waterloo Wheel Designs, Riptide Bushings, Insanity Board Shop, Adrenaline Factory, Anchor Wheels, Bombsquad, Evins Skateboards, Crossroads, Cheetah Oil, Slikchit Slide Pucks, Muir Skate, Randal Truck Co., Big Myth Skateboards, Nuke Wheels, Klever Skateboards, AuthentiK, and OneOff .